The injury issues that have assailed the Bears’ offense and defense in this early season splashed over into special teams, with punter Pat O’Donnell coming out of the Seattle game with a knee injury and forcing the Bears to sign former Cleveland Browns punter Spencer Lanning.
Lanning, who spent time with the Bears in 2011, was signed Saturday to fill in for O’Donnell against the Oakland Raiders on Sunday. To make roster room for Lanning the Bears waived defensive tackle Brandon Dunn, himself a recent roster addition when defensive tackle Ego Ferguson was forced to miss the Arizona game with a knee injury.
The Bears have some firsthand familiarity with Lanning. The former Brown punted five times for an average of 42.2 yards in the Bears’ Dec. 15, 2013 win, twice for a 52-yard average in the teams’ 2013 meeting in preseason, and twice for a 45.5-yard average in the Bears-Browns 2014 preseason game.
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For his career, Lanning has appeared in 32 games over two seasons (2013-14) with Cleveland, punting 177 times for 7,798 yards (44.1 gross average) with 53 placed inside-the-20, 14 touchbacks, 1 blocked punt and 652 return yards for a 38.6 net average. Lanning originally entered the NFL in 2011 with the Bears out of South Carolina. He will wear No. 4.
Dunn appeared in four games over two seasons (2014-15) with Chicago, collecting six tackles and one pass break-up.
Say what you want about Chicago Bears coach Matt Nagy and his questionable start to the 2019 season as a play-caller, but no one can argue his intensity and passion for the game. He's all-in, fully invested in this team and their quest for a Super Bowl, and he wore his emotions on his sleeve in Week 2 against the Denver Broncos.
History suggests teams that start a season 0-2 have about a 10% chance of making the playoffs. That's why Sunday's game was so important; if the Bears lost, and dropped to 0-2, the odds would've been stacked against another appearance in the post-season. And if that happens, calling the 2019 season a letdown would be a massive understatement.
So, yeah, emotions ran high after Eddy Pineiro connected on the game-winner as time expired. Count Nagy among the many who let his passion flow after the kick went through the uprights.
Check it out:
Who would've guessed that the star of the Chicago Bears after two weeks of the 2019 NFL season would be the kicker?
It's almost as if the Bears can't escape the one position that usually gets the least attention unless, of course, they miss a game-winner in a playoff game.
Ever since Cody Parkey's double-doink disaster in last year's wild-card loss to the Eagles, Chicago has fielded questions about who his replacement would be for 2019. It took a lot longer than expected to get the answer, but Eddy Pineiro won the Bears' much-publicized kicker competition and now, after Week 2's win over the Broncos, has become a folk hero in Chicago.
His 53-yard game-winner has thrust him into quasi-superstardom. Even Deion Sanders wants to talk to him. Check it out: